Yann Idelsen is the Founder and CEO of FundRE, a platform that facilitates the origination of European Commercial Real Estate finance for institutional investors. The platform streamlines the execution process and provides accurate market data to improve the underwriting process for investors, lenders and debt advisors.
Yann started his career at Joans Lang LaSaelle and HFF in their European commercial real estate debt and equity raising teams advising investors on structuring the capital stack of specific real estate scheme and negotiating financing terms with lenders. Yann then moved on to join the acquisition team of a real estate investment manager where he deployed €1.5bn across Europe whilst also raising financing for those acquisitions.
What motivated you to start FundRE?
Seeing the financing origination process first-hand, first as a debt advisor and then as a borrower, I decided to start FundRE to tackle the multiple inefficiencies and hurdles of the process.
There are over 400 different institutions lending in Europe whose lending criteria changes monthly meaning it is very time consuming to cover even a portion of this market. The entire financing process itself is at present carried out over emails and calls with no standardisation of the information so I set out to streamline this process.
How do you see your product fitting in within the legal industry?
FundRE aims to create an ecosystem, which includes all parties working around commercial real estate transactions. This will allow the platform to improve further the experience of all the users and the efficiency of the process. As such, we are also designing our product as an origination platform for real estate finance lawyers and allowing them to execute each transaction faster.
How has your product evolved since you started?
We understood early on that lawyers should not be simply added to a transaction but rather be a unique user on the platform. There is a lot of potential to enhance the legal aspect of the process, we have identified several ways to improve it and we are currently working to implement some of these enhancements in our current product.
We have also begun to put together a terrific initial team of professionals with a strong institutional background to help us push the development of the product further.
What traction and challenges have you seen so far?
FundRE had a soft launch in November 2020 and several large institutions are testing the product. The feedback received from investors, debt advisors and lenders that have looked at the beta version of the platform has been fantastic, validating our idea that there is a real need for the processes to be improved across the industry.
One of FundRE’s aims is to provide accurate data to the users. It takes a lot of work in the design to make sure that the information that we will provide is accurate and verified while still providing the users with some flexibility as every company keeps its data in a different format. Now, there is a lot of information but not many credible sources for the market participants, which is challenging.
What is your long-term goal for FundRE?
FundRE’s long-term goal is to become the largest provider of commercial real estate data in the industry and provide every user with a tool to transact efficiently.
What is one piece of advice you would give to people starting out?
Networking is so important when starting out, keep talking to professionals within the industries you are targeting about your business idea, product and its development, and you will gain useful insight and feedback to help further your thinking. Try to seek out the contacts within target companies that are able to deliver and try to not waste any time.
Keep an eye out for more exciting news on FundRE’s journey as they continue to grow.
If you are interested in applying to MDR LAB’s Improve Programme, read more here.